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SPARKY. A Wonderful Life, Part 3

SPARKY. A Wonderful Life, Part 3

Sparky: Part 3

5/18/13: I woke this morning with my emotions like a body-sized bubble under my skin. A bubble that stretched thin over my eyeballs as my daughter, all nine years of her, opened her arms wide and announced “I won’t be seeing you until tomorrow then.” She hugged me like an actual person, and head out for back-to-back parties followed by a sleepover. The bubble stretched so thin, it caused some eye-leaking as I watched her bounce through the front gate, so put together in her black-on-black with shimmering belt and textured circle-scarf worn like a Miss USA sash.

And then, oh that twitter. Not my heart, but the actual Twitter. It sent me down some paths. Today it was peanuts. Not the edible, EpiPen variety, but the Snoopy and Charlie Brown kind of Peanuts. It has been a long while since I had thought about Sparky, his faded yellow sweater, his real-life humor. If he were here today, he would have the best puns about auto-correct on the iPhone, about the loss of the typewriter, about kids and connecting and Facebook and cyber bullying. Rats, I wish he was still here.

And finally, I watched his 1999 interview with Al Roker, and did I cry! Heaved, shriveled my face, honked it all out of me. I couldn’t watch in 1999, being all the way in Australia and already distraught about news of his health, relayed by mutual friends. I could barely read the Sydney Morning Herald Tribute on the day he died. And so, I buried that sadness along with that other stuff.

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Until today. Today I got a little mad about the package he dropped at my former work, the package that somehow got ‘lost’ and never made it to me. I have an idea what he may have drawn for me, but I’ll never know. Today I thought about what a dear man he was, and the gift he gave me the day I got to ‘interview’ him at lunch. (See Sparky: Part 1 and 2).

It was after we had talked for a long time about the skating rink, the Senior Hockey Tournament and his upbringing, his wonderful family and memories he treasured, I asked him if he felt a responsibility to put out pure messages to the world of kids. That’s when he got really bristly. And I turned off the recorder.

It became clear that he was upset with me asking that question. And I thought (and I suspect it’s true) that he was probably just tired of the same old questions. Then he said he would be really upset if I thought poorly of him. And I thought (and I suspect it’s true) that I’d hit on a nerve of some kind that ran deeper than our conversation. So I asked why he would care what a peabody like me would think. And THEN he said (and I will treasure the gift forever) “because you are special”.

I think about that gift often, when I’m struggling to find my way, when I forget all I’ve done and who I am. When I’m overly emotional about my daughter growing up . . . It’s not just because he was Charles Schultz, it’s because, well, nobody says that. And I liked him. He was my friend.

 

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